This is your Poinsettia Care 101 Guide. Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is THE most famous seasonal plant on the planet. Come Christmas time, poinsettias are sold left and right. They are a given in the Christmas season as Whams’ Last Christmas is.
According to New Mexico State University, Poinsettias are so popular because they are a plant that flowers in mid-winter.
In this plant care guide, we want to show you how you care for the poinsettias correctly so your plant doesn’t just barely survives till Christmas but thrives year long and for years to come.
- 1 Poinsettia Care Guide
- 2 Poinsettia Care Year-Round
- 3 Poinsettia Care in Spring
- 4 We collected these Poinsettia Facts for you:
- 5 Poinsettia Lifespan
- 6 Poinsettias for Christmas
- 7 Poinsettias Definition
- 8 Mexican Poinsettia
- 9 How to Pronounce Poinsettia
- 10 Poinsettia Toxicity levels
- 11 Poinsettia and Cats
- 12 Poinsettia Origin
- 13 Frequently asked questions about Poinsettias
- 13.1 How can I keep a Poinsettias alive?
- 13.2 Are Poinsettias toxic?
- 13.3 Are Poinsettias toxic to cats and dogs?
- 13.4 How can I get Poinsettias to rebloom?
- 13.5 Why are the leaves falling off my Poinsettia?
- 13.6 Can I keep my Poinsettia for next Christmas?
- 13.7 What to do with my Poinsettia after Christmas?
- 14 Conclusion
We gonna highlight absolutely everything you need and want to know about the Poinsettia care. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
We start off with the most essential point. The Poinsettia care guide:
Poinsettia Care Guide
Poinsettia care requires loose and well-draining soil. You can either buy a premium potting soil or mix your own. We compiled an article about how to mix your own potting soil that is well-draining.
Very important elements of well-draining soils are chunky bits such as perlite, pumice or orchid bark. They loosen up the soil and ensure necessary airflow to the roots to prevent root rot.
This is a light hungry plant. Poinsettia care requires at least 6 hours of bright indirect sunlight. Therefore keep your plant in a spot where it gets vast amounts of bright indirect light.
If you cannot provide natural sunlight, Poinsettia care can also be successful with sufficient artificial light. A good grow light will do just as well.
The right time to water your Poinsettia is when the soil feels dry. The best option is to check this using your fingers. Stick your index finger into the soil. If it feels almost dry to the touch to about 1 inch into the soil, it is time to water.
In most homes, you will have to water Poinsettias about once a week to get the Poinsettia care right. This is a general rule of thumb as the location, the soil and pot you use as well as the environment play an essential role. They will define how often you will have to water.
The best advice is to keep the soil slightly damp but never soggy for your Poinsettia.
The best temperature for Poinsettia is between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (18°C-21°C) at daytime. Temperatures can drop at night to about 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (16°C-18°C).
If temperatures are too high it will cause the leaves to yellow and wilt and fall off. In addition, the beautiful coloured bracts that surround the flowers will fade.
Poinsettia care requires humid conditions. An option would be to spray the leaves daily. Poinsettias will survive without you spraying the leaves every day.
However, if you want to offer the best possible conditions, increased humidity is a must. An alternative is to provide a pebble tray below the pot that you fill with water.
Use an all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer. Water plants thoroughly after using any kind of fertilizer. Be it a water-soluble one or a dry slow-release fertilizer which is also fine. Recommended ratios for NPK fertilizers (Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K)) are 15-0-15, 15-16-17 or 20-10-20.
Fertilize once every 30 days and use the fertilizer at half-strength. This is generally recommended for houseplants and also holds true for a Poinsettia.
If you want to get to know more about fertilization, you can read our fertilizer guide if you want to know more about what, when and how to fertilize your houseplants best.
To propagate a Poinsettia plant it is best to cut it back first and let new growth develop. Wait for the new growth to reach several inches before taking stem cuttings. At about a length of 4 inches, you can start to take cuttings.
Make sure your cuttings have several leaves. 3-4 leaves are recommended on a good cutting as this will increase the chance of successful propagation.
Leaves will help the Poinsettia to conduct photosynthesis and will, therefore, provide energy for the cuttings to start the rooting process.
It wouldn’t be a Plantophiles Plant Care Guide if we wouldn’t have addressed the proper propagation in our Poinsettia care article.
Poinsettia can grow big very big. Did you know that the beautiful looking plant most of us buy around Christmas can reach a size up to 16 feet?
Yes, you heard that right. Poinsettia is native to Mexico and Central America and will grow to the size of a tree in its natural habitat.
By the end of May, the growth should start to skyrocket if the conditions are right and you are taking care of your Poinsettia all year round.
We recommend removing the Poinsettia plants directly from the pot they come with. Remove the soil and plant your plant in fresh potting mix.
Because only if you are using your own pot and potting mix you can make sure that you are dealing with good quality materials and ingredients. To cut costs, Poinsettias often come with cheap soil and plastic pots.
Good drainage is essential. Use a pot that has drainage holes. A common Poinsettia care problem is root and stem rot. Cheap and heavy soil will soak too much and becomes soggy.
Poinsettia Care Year-Round
If you follow our Poinsettia care guide, you can take care of your Poinsettias all year round. There are just too many Poinsettias that are thrown away and almost all of us are guilty.
The saddest pictures are seen in the garden centres were the leftover Poinsettias are either left to rot and die or are reduced in price drastically. Once Christmas is over, no one seems to be interested in Poinsettias anymore. At least until the next Christmas season starts.
Well, things can be different, as of course, Poinsettia care can be an all-year-round joy.
Poinsettia Care in Spring
If your carry-on caring for your Poinsettia into spring, make sure you are providing sufficient light as the plant loves bright indirect light. In Autumn and specifically winter the natural sunlight available is limited due to shorter days.
In early Spring the hours of sunshine are just about to increase so the right spot with bright indirect light for your Poinsettia is key.
In addition, early Spring will have colder temperatures leading to the heating running for multiple hours. As the Poinsettia loves humid temperatures you should make sure that it is not in front of a heating unit. It also prefers milder temperatures in general.
We collected these Poinsettia Facts for you:
- Poinsettias are originally from Mexico and Central America
- Poinsettias can grow up to 16 feet in nature
- They can live for years given the right care
- Poinsettias are the Christmas Season Houseplant #1
- The botanical name is Euphorbia pulcherrima
- The plant is named after Joel R. Poinsett
- Poinsettias are available in multiple colours
Most people will only manage to barely keep a Poinsettia alive for one Christmas season and will then discard it. However, with proper Poinsettia care, you should be able to keep your Poinsettia alive for at least two years or two Christmas seasons.
If your are an experienced green thumb you even might be able to keep this plant alive much longer.
Poinsettias for Christmas
Apart from this headline is the name of a film, we want to elaborate on why Poinsettias are so popular around Christmas. One reason is that the leaves are supposed to resemble the Star of Bethlehem.
The red leaves can be seen as the blood of Jesus Christ. Another reasons for its popularity in the Christmas season is for sure that the Poinsettia actually blooms in winter and around Christmas time.
Poinsettia is a small shrub from Mexico. It has small yellow flowers surrounded by large red bracts. This is probably how you would find this plant described in a dictionary.
The Mexican Poinsettia has a bright red colour. It is also known as the Christmas flower. It is the Mexican Poinsettia that flowers around Christmas time making it the perfect houseplant to buy around this season as it is the perfect Christmas decoration.
The Aztecs called this plant Cuitlaxochitl. Don’t ask us how to spell this one. Nowadays the call it La Flor de la Nochebuena in Mexico or the flower of the Holy Night.
How to Pronounce Poinsettia
How do you pronounce Poinsettia? That’s a good question. We certainly didn’t know either and had to look it up for you, which of course was a pleasure for us to do.
It is pronounced: poyn·seh·tee·uh
Poinsettia Toxicity levels
Euphorbia is a genus of some very poisonous plants. Poinsettia is not one of them and Poinsettia care itself is not dangerous as these plants are not toxic.
Nausea, vomiting and drooling, as well as diarrhoea, are the worst symptoms you could possibly get when ingesting the plant.
Poinsettia and Cats
Poinsettia is not completely harmless when it comes to cats and dogs. However, they are mildly toxic to cats and dogs at best.
The above-described symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea are the most commonly observed negative effects when your beloved pet decides to ingest this plant.
Poinsettia care is therefore not as dangerous as some people might think as there are rumours that this plant is supposed to be highly toxic which it is not.
Yes, it is part of the Euphorbia genus with very poisonous plants such as the Euphorbia tirucalli or Pencil Cactus, that can cause blindness.
Poinsettias are named after Joel Robert Poinsett (1779-1851). He was a physician, an ambassador and also an amateur botanist.
He brought the plant from Mexico to the United States in 1825 in his function as an ambassador.
Frequently asked questions about Poinsettias
How can I keep a Poinsettias alive?
Water your Poinsettia about once a week and place it in a spot where it gets at least 6 hours of bright indirect light. Ensure that the soil never gets soggy and stays slightly moist.
Are Poinsettias toxic?
Poinsettia is only mildly toxic and can cause nausea and vomiting as well as drooling.
Are Poinsettias toxic to cats and dogs?
Poinsettia is slightly toxic and can cause nausea and vomiting as well as drooling in cats and dogs. It is best to keep critters away from these plants.
How can I get Poinsettias to rebloom?
The best way to have Poinsettia to rebloom is if your simulate its natural life cycle. Reduce waterings after the blooming is finished so the plants can go into dormancy. After March or April, you can increase the watering and fertilization again.
Why are the leaves falling off my Poinsettia?
Proper Poinsettia care requires regular waterings. If leaves and the bract start to yellow and fall off, you might have watered your Poinsettia insufficiently or infrequently. Make sure the soil stays slightly moist at all times but do not overwater.
Can I keep my Poinsettia for next Christmas?
Poinsettia has the ability to rebloom over and over again. With the right Poinsettia care, you will be able to enjoy these beautiful plants for years. This requires that you are emulating the natural cycles Poinsettia go through with a dormancy after it has bloomed.
What to do with my Poinsettia after Christmas?
Keep it and cut it back. It is best to cut it back 4-6 inches in late winter or early spring. Make sure to at least leave 1-3 leaves on each stem. This way new growth will emerge eventually and the plant will become bushier and will carry more blooms the next Christmas season.
Famous as the shrub or Christmas flower, Poinsettia care is so much more as buying it around Christmas and then disposing of the plant right after.
With the proper Poinsettia care, you can have these plants for years and years and also Christmas seasons to come. In their natural habitat, they grow to 12 feet which is the size of a tree.
Poinsettias make great houseplants if you let them. The right poinsettia care can make the difference between a plant losing all its leaves and one that looks amazing during the whole Christmas season. Enjoy your Christmas Stars and enable them to shine again and again for many Christmas seasons to come!
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.